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Software Library: ZZT

Tim Sweeney

ZZT is an ANSI character-based video game, created in 1991 by Tim Sweeney of Potomac Computer Systems which became Epic MegaGames in 1992. It remains a popular MS-DOS game creation system. ZZT itself is not an acronym for anything; its title was chosen so it would always appear at the bottom of newsgroup listings. It was later jokingly mentioned by Sweeney as being short for Zoo of Zero Tolerance, which has mistakenly become a popular belief.

Although visually outdated at the time of its release, ZZT became fairly popular because of its integration of an object-oriented scripting language known as ZZT-OOP. The language allowed community involvement that extended beyond simply creating level terrain with the built-in editor.

Originally ZZT was shareware, with only one of the four level-sets or "worlds" released without payment. The level released with the shareware copy is called "Town of ZZT". The shareware versions also included "Demo of ZZT", which displayed the basic features of ZZT worlds, and "Tour of ZZT", which allowed the player to view select rooms (some playable) of the four worlds. Three different versions of shareware ZZT were released, with three corresponding registered versions. With about 30,000 registrations worldwide, ZZT was successful enough to finance the production of Jill of the Jungle. As the game became obsolete it became freeware, however, with all four worlds of the registered version released for free. The worlds are: "Town of ZZT", "Caves of ZZT", "Dungeons of ZZT", and "City of ZZT".

In the newsletters for the registered version of ZZT, it is apparent that Sweeney initially had not expected the editor to become the most popular feature of his game. Fans' letters to him quickly established this, and Sweeney responded by encouraging registered users to make their own worlds and submit them to him. The best material from these was released in The Best of ZZT.

Gameplay of ZZT is very simple. The player is controlled by the four cursor keys, and the shift key and a cursor key pressed will shoot a bullet (if the player has ammo). Items that can be picked up include: ammo (each magazine holds five rounds), gems (used for currency in most games), torches (used by pressing the T key in darkened rooms, lighting a small area around the player, that moves as the player does), and energizers that give the player temporary invincibility. Enemies include lions (randomly moving monsters, that may follow the player), tigers (randomly moving monsters that fire bullets), ruffians (monsters that chase the player, then rest, then repeat), bears, slimes, and spinning guns.

Third-party worlds for ZZT are diverse, ranging from shoot 'em ups to complex role-playing video game to a Lemmings clone (Zem). Other games have been inspired by ZZT, such as MegaZeux and ZZT's sequel, Super ZZT, the latter being widely criticized for lacking an easily accessible editor function.

As of 2009, ZZT was still for sale through mail order, according to Sweeney in a Gamasutra interview. The last copy was distributed in late 2013.

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Software Library: ZZT
by Epic MegaGames, Inc.
software
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Published by Epic MegaGames, Inc. Developed by Epic MegaGames, Inc. Released 1991 Official Site ZZT Platform DOS Genre Action Perspective Top-Down Theme Puzzle-Solving Misc Editor / Construction Set Description A text-mode action/puzzle game, ZZT already comes with a variety of game worlds. However, the real appeal of this game is the level editor with its scripting capability, which allows the creation of an unlimited number of new scenarios, stories, characters, traps, machines, and anything...
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Software Library: ZZT
by Robojim
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eye 1,387
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine.
Topics: ZZT games, Action
Software Library: ZZT
by Country Games
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eye 781
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Game created using the ZZT engine.
Topics: ZZT games, Arcade
Software Library: ZZT
by Darby Janssen
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favorite 2
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: zalda README.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by bitbot
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eye 624
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the Super ZZT engine.
Topic: ZZT games
Software Library: ZZT
by Flimsy Parkins
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Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: FLIMTOWN.txt
Topic: ZZT games
Software Library: ZZT
by SAM VINCI
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favorite 0
comment 2
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: pokemonzzz.txt
favoritefavoritefavorite ( 2 reviews )
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by Epic MegaGames, Inc.
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eye 571
favorite 3
comment 0
Published by Epic MegaGames, Inc. Developed by Epic MegaGames, Inc. Released 1992 Platform DOS Genre Strategy Perspective Top-Down Theme Puzzle-Solving Description Super ZZT is the sequel to ZZT. There are five large game boards included with different puzzles and storylines. From Mobygames.com. Original Entry
Software Library: ZZT
by _ry0suke_
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: kiddy fun.txt
Topic: ZZT games
Software Library: ZZT
by bitbot
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine.
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure, RPG
Software Library: ZZT
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Game created using the ZZT engine.
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by Lynx & WiL
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: PAC.TXT
Topics: ZZT games, Arcade
Software Library: ZZT
by Terry Bates
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Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Readme.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Action
Software Library: ZZT
by Michael Barash
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: SuperFrog.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Action, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by Justin G.
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Warcraftzzt.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Simulation, Strategy
Software Library: ZZT
by Rasel Noor
software
eye 251
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: paranoia.txt Readme file: paranoia.htm
Topics: ZZT games, Puzzle, Horror
Software Library: ZZT
by Nemesis
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favorite 1
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Pokemon1.txt
Topics: ZZT games, RPG, Adventure, Font
Software Library: ZZT
by David Newton
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favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Castlzzt.txt
Topic: ZZT games
Software Library: ZZT
by Daemon Lotos
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Mariorpg.txt
Topics: ZZT games, RPG
Software Library: ZZT
by Blue*Ice
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favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine.
Topic: ZZT games
Software Library: ZZT
by cheezitman2001
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favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Mario PC.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure, Comedy
Software Library: ZZT
by Anarchy
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favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Quake Arena.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Multiplayer, Action
Software Library: ZZT
by jakob_666
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favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: bbath.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Horror, Action
Software Library: ZZT
by Chris Kohler
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favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: LEGENDS.TXT
Topics: ZZT games, Arcade
Software Library: ZZT
by Viovis Acropolis
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eye 203
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: bubbutt.txt
Topics: ZZT games, 24hoZZT
Software Library: ZZT
by Hydra78
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eye 201
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: GLORY.TXT
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by Matt Dabrowski
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Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: BURGERJ.TXT
Topics: ZZT games, Simulation
Software Library: ZZT
by Tim Labonte
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Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: alin3d.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine.
Topics: ZZT games, Action
Software Library: ZZT
by MYoshiH
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Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: upload(1).txt
Topics: ZZT games, Action, Adventure, Comedy
Software Library: ZZT
by Rasel Noor
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favorite 1
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: simlife.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Simulation, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by bitbot
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ZZTV is a community project started by Dark FLR in 1998. ZZTers can create and contribute channels, which are small ZZT worlds that can contain any kind of content the author wishes: previews of upcoming games, artwork, minigames, stories, etc... These channels are traditionally given names that begin with the "#" symbol (e.g., "#bakedcheese"). All of the channels are sent to the person in charge of ZZTV; the project leader is then responsible for compiling the contributions...
Topic: ZZT diskmags
Software Library: ZZT
by Nixon
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Diablo.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Action
Software Library: ZZT
by David Hetrick
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine.
Topics: ZZT games, Action, Anti-Barney
Software Library: ZZT
by kcnrogers
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Breakout!.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Arcade
Software Library: ZZT
by Fishfood
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: FF.txt
Topics: ZZT games, RPG
Software Library: ZZT
by Draccko
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favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine.
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by Zenith Nadir
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favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine.
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by T-800
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Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: MARVEL VERSUS DC.txt
Topic: ZZT games
Software Library: ZZT
by bucket
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: RE.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Action
Software Library: ZZT
by DJ Furby
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: GENERAL.TXT
Topics: ZZT games, Side scroller
Software Library: ZZT
by Viovis Acropolis
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eye 149
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: c64xmas.txt
Topic: ZZT games
Software Library: ZZT
by Teraptus13
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favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: DUKEINFO.TXT
Topics: ZZT games, Action
Software Library: ZZT
by Parell
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eye 148
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Read1st.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by SKC Soft
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eye 148
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Biohazard.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Action, Horror
Software Library: ZZT
by WiL
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eye 144
favorite 0
comment 0
Topic: ZZT games
Software Library: ZZT
by Bill Meeks
software
eye 142
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: MARIO2.TXT
Topics: ZZT games, Action
Software Library: ZZT
by Nixon
software
eye 141
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comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: BOULDERD.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Puzzle
Software Library: ZZT
by OrangeFox
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eye 136
favorite 1
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: SONICPAD.TXT
Topics: ZZT games, Action, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by Adam LaChapelle
software
eye 135
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine.
Topics: ZZT games, Action
Software Library: ZZT
by Chase Bramlage
software
eye 135
favorite 1
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: ffdisc1.txt
Topics: ZZT games, RPG
Software Library: ZZT
by Jacob Hammond
software
eye 133
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: scorched.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Strategy, Engine
Software Library: ZZT
by Dsone
software
eye 130
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Lemming Hunter.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Action, Puzzle, Side scroller
Software Library: ZZT
by eRN56
software
eye 128
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: faloutse.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Action, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by dave2
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eye 127
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Donkey Kong.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Action
Software Library: ZZT
by Insom
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eye 126
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Winders.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by David Newton
software
eye 126
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: VTNSTK.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure, Sci-fi, Comedy
Software Library: ZZT
software
eye 126
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine.
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by Brain Bomber
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eye 123
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: SonicZZT.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Action
Software Library: ZZT
by Mrs. Clause
software
eye 122
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: la-info.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Action, RPG
Software Library: ZZT
by Benco
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eye 122
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: OddworldZZT.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Side scroller, Puzzle
Software Library: ZZT
by DMSoft
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eye 121
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: DMFONT.TXT
Topics: ZZT games, Font
Software Library: ZZT
by Nydark
software
eye 119
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: weekend.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by Andrea Landt
software
eye 116
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Genevainfo.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure, Sci-fi, Star Trek
Software Library: ZZT
by WiL
software
eye 116
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: BQUEST.TXT
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure, Font, ZZT Hack
Software Library: ZZT
by Fantasy Software
software
eye 116
favorite 0
comment 0
Topic: ZZT games
Software Library: ZZT
by Sci Freak
software
eye 115
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Tomb Raider.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by Mooseka
software
eye 115
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Decay.txt.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Horror, Demo, Cinema
Software Library: ZZT
by Ultima
software
eye 114
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: ULTIMATXT.txt
Topics: ZZT games, RPG, Action, Puzzle
Software Library: ZZT
by John W. Wells
software
eye 113
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Espfull.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure, Action, Comedy
Software Library: ZZT
by EvilMario
software
eye 112
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine.
Topics: ZZT games, Adventure
Software Library: ZZT
by Darby Janssen
software
eye 111
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: zalda README.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Action, RPG
Software Library: ZZT
by Flimsy Parkins
software
eye 109
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: ShadesOf.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Action
Software Library: ZZT
by Allen Pilgrim
software
eye 106
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: Fantasy.txt
Topic: ZZT games
Software Library: ZZT
by Darby Janssen
software
eye 106
favorite 0
comment 0
Game created using the ZZT engine. Readme file: hhread me.txt
Topics: ZZT games, Mystery, Horror, Adventure